The biggest risk to the effectiveness of ongoing Technical Assistance (TA) programmes (as a result of a change in government) is a change in priority or policy by the incoming administration. Indeed, periods of transition usually see the passing of a diverse set of economic and social policies that may affect ongoing development programmes. The World Bank (2007), for instance, notes that about 85% of economic reforms take place within 15 months of a change of government. Donor flexibility is, therefore, of particular importance in circumstances of government change in programme countries. The existing (limited) evidence shows that the change of government generally has a negative effect on the effectiveness of ongoing TA programmes – especially when the new government has different priorities (which can often be the case for an incoming opposition party). However, in some cases, a new administration – despite some policy differences from its predecessor – may see an ongoing TA programme as helpful and may decide to continue supporting it in its exiting form. In such cases, there may not be an adverse impact/shock on the effectiveness of TA programmes. This rapid literature review has detected the severe lack of academic studies and dedicated synthesis on the topic. However, several project reviews (intermediate or final) by donors and independent programme reviewers give a passing mention (a paragraph or two) of the high risk to programme effectiveness from government change in partner countries. In this regard, the academic community (or research departments of major development institutions) may fill a valuable research gap if they systematically explore the issue.
K4D helpdesk reports provide summaries of current research, evidence and lessons learned. This report was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development.
Megersa, K. (2019). The Implication of Government Change to Technical Assistance. K4D Helpdesk Report 706. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.
Published 29 November 2019